Sunday, August 18, 2013

Missing SewJo and Self-Care

This past week marked the 2nd anniversary of moving to Guelph and beginning to work at my dream job.

As you know, social work is my second career after 20 odd years in long term care nursing. The similarities between the two careers are not necessarily related to the service of others, a drive to care, the quintessential feminine quality to both worlds - - but the opportunity for creativity - designing new solutions, discovering new skills, deciding new approaches.  Theory guides, but both creativity declares.

The last few weeks on the work front have been intense as I finish up older projects, and plan new initiatives, and carry on the normal daily tasks.  I feel pulled in different directions, and unable to give 100% to anything, which is a difficult place for me to find myself.  

My default response to challenge is complete absorption.  It's nearly impossible for me to be able to divide my focus between any two things.   The risk of continuing like this is burn out - a deadly consequence for any nurse or social worker - - or artist.  (GASP!)  The first sign, which I initially didn't associate with the way I was processing work, was the inability to lose myself in a quilting project - my go-to for self-care.  I was completely uninspired by projects already in the works, and all attempts to try something new ended up in the landfill.

Soon I was coming home after work exhausted, irritable.  This week I had three nights in a row when I didn't sleep well at all.  I was waking up in the wee hours thinking about my most complex and challenging clients, and not coming up with any new ideas as to how to help them.  In a few days I started having frequent flutterings (think less butterfly, and more goldfish flopping outside of its bowl) in my chest - a certain sign the stress was becoming too much.  I had ignored taking care of me for too long.

I need to remember - - quilting isn't just something I do to exercise my creativity, it's a key part to wellness for me. It feeds me, and is as important as a good night's sleep, fresh air and sunshine.  I've spent most of the last week or two just cutting scraps.  Today I played with 2.5" squares all day.  I actually ended up piecing a baby quilt top together, and even have the border ready to apply.  I'll post pictures soon.


  1. Good for you! I, too, find quilting therapeutic. Playing with those scraps meant fun. You weren't working with those scraps. Glad to hear you were motivated and made sew much progress.

  2. We must be twins! I adove the light switch idea. I've been that way for all my life! Either quilting, sewing, cross stitching, embroidery, reading, gardening, knitting and spinning. Our house is crammed with my accumulated collections relating to each of these. I often wish I could focus on more than one thing at once, but I've never been able to. I think that is why I career-hopped all through my life - I would love doing something when I started and thought I wanted to spend my life doing it - until I got bored and needed a new challenge. Now that I'm retired I can indulge myself - as long as I get dinner on the table most days. Right now I'm back to quilting - almost every hour of every day. And since I'm retired I let myself do just what I want LOL!

    I hope your career change provides you with what you need. I can certainly relate to your feelings.